self-guided cultural trip in Transylvania  

trip can be done year round

Cluj Napoca
Medias
Biertan
Sighisoara
Sighisoara
Saschiz
Rupea
Prejmer
central square in Brasov
Ecatherina gate in Brasov
Bran castle
Risnov fortress above the village
Piatra Craiului
Sibiu, large square. 
Slimnic, Stolzenburg ruins 
Calnic
landscape Apuseni Mountains
ice cave in Scarisoara 
woodcarver in Girda
etnographic museum in Lupsa
Rimetea

For this trip we have put the accent on the culture and history of Transylvania.

Every day you can make longer or shorter hike in each region, or just stroll around by foot or car. You travel around by private car or rental car. 

You stay overnight in comfortable guestrooms, hotels or pensions, all the rooms have private bathrooms. If you stay in guestrooms, you stay full board, you'll enjoy each night a typical hearty meal, in the morning is a large continental breakfast and you make yourself a lunch-packet for noon. The Romanian kitchen is simple but tasteful, cooked mostly with home grown products or from the village. In the towns you stay in pensions or hotel-rooms in bed and breakfast formula, all are small scale businesses. For this trip you can choose in Sighisoara and Sibiu if you stay in a room in a hotel or pension in the town, or if you stay in guestrooms in a surrounding village. (for Sighisoara that would be guestrooms in Biertan, in Sibiu that would be guestrooms in Gura Raului.)

 

 

 

Access: 

All the places can all be reached with a normal car. You can leave each time your car there without problems. 

 

 

Transylvania:  

The region was colonized in the Middle Ages not only by the Saxons, but also by Flemish, Dutch, Walloon, Luxembourger and Rhine and Mosel settlers. Later, the Hungarians and Habsbourger controlled the region.  You'll find here the beautiful historical towns Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara.

Between these towns is a hilly pastoral landscape where almost each village has a fascinating fortified church. 7 of these churches are on the Unesco World Heritage list together with the center of Sighisoara. Unique is that during the Middle Ages, the inhabitants fortified the churches, built extra defense galleries on the naves and choirs, built fortified walls, towers and bastions to keep the Turks away.  There were more then hundred of them, most of them still stand, some restored, others almost in ruins. Besides that you find in the region larger and smaller museums, castles and fortresses. 

 

 

The nature:  

The biodiversity of the different mountains regions that surround the Saxon home land is very special. There are dozens of endemic plants and there is still brown bear, wolf and lynx in the mountains, but there is little chance that you will meet one. 

 

 

Practical: 

You receive the day of arrival an extensive road-book, addresses of the accommodations, tourist information, maps and described hikes or walks. 

 

 

The rental car: 

The car will be brought to the pension in Cluj Napoca at 9am on day 2. The car will be picked up at 6pm on day 10, again at the pension in Cluj Napoca. (totals 9 days) The warranty for the rental car can be paid with credit card. 

 

 

The distances:

 

You'll drive on the transfer days about 4-5 hours. You drive only on asphalted roads. We choose for the more quiet secondary roads and avoided as much as possible the busy E-roads. You find everywhere gas-stations, restaurants and shops along the roads so that extra provisions or restrooms are not a problem. 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel-period:

 

You're less bound travelling during the summer months as you most likely won't be hiking in the high mountains where you can have snow from November till May. Basically you can have snow on the roads in Transylvania from December till end March. Romania has an efficient system to clean snow covered roads and snow hardly remains for more then a day on the road except with blizzard conditions. Snow might occur occasionally in November or April but never last long. The ideal travel period is 1 May till end October. The busiest tourist season is between 15 July and 15 August, but it is never that busy that you will have traffic jams or problems to visit something. 

 

 

 

A short description of the trip:

 

Day 1 Arrival in Cluj Napoca. If you come by train or plane, you will be picked up from the airport or train station and be brought to a cozy pension downtown Cluj Napoca. We'll introduce the program.

 

 

Day 2 The car will be brought to the pension at 9am. You drive to Sighisoara. You drive through a pastoral landscape with small villages. You'll find a few castles; there is one in  Zau de Campie and Iernut. You'll drive along the little historical town Medias en you can visit the fortified churches of Mosna, Biertan and Dumbraveni. There is a renaissance castle in renovation in Cris and you arrive in the medieval town Sighisoara. The fortified town center is one of the most authentic medieval examples in Europe. It is on the World Heritage List. You stay overnight in the medieval town. 

 

 

Day 3 Trip to Bran. You drive along the Saxon villages Saschiz,  Roades, Rupea, Hoghiz, Rotbav, Feldioara, Prejmer to Brasov. Along the road you can visit fascinating fortified churches and fortresses.  The sites of Saschiz and Prejmer are on the World Heritage List. You drive to Brasov. Brasov is a beautiful medieval town at the base of the Carpathian Mountains. The historic town center is largely intact and you can visit the east and west wall fortifications. There is the large gothic black church and several museums. You can take the funicular up the Tampa hill. You continue to Bran, worldwide known for its castle. You stay overnight in a fine guesthouse at a few minutes walking from the castle.

 

You can visit a special page about Brasov:

Click here

 

Day 4-5 You can drive to the little town Sinaia to visit the world famous Peles Castle, the former Royal Castle. Its built in Bavarian style, and loaded with art and antiques. You find works from El Greco, Zurbaran, Murillo, Velasquez, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Clouet, Rafael, Brueghel, David, Correggio….There is Meissen and Rosenthal porcelain, There are 17-18c gobelins and much more. It is by far the most beautiful castle of the country. You can take the ski-lift up the Bucegi Mountains for a stroll on the 2000m high plateau. There is the medieval fortress of Risnov and there are the Piatra Craiului Mountains with a bear reserve. More then  enough to fill 2 fantastic days. You stay in the Bran guesthouse.

 

 

Day 6-7 Transfer to Sibiu. During the summer months you can make the transfer by the 2000m high Trans Fagaras highway. The other months you can mostly access the ridge by the northern access road. If you travel south-north you can visit the real Dracula fortress if you climb 1500 steps. On the ridge you can make a short hike to an alpine lake. There is the town Fagaras with it's beautiful castle (now museum). There are the ruins of a Cistercian monastery in Carta. Sibiu was cultural capital of Europe in 2007. It is a historical Saxon town and the medieval center is largely preserved. There are numerous historical buildings and many museums, the most important is the Brukenthal museum with important works from Flemish, Italian and Dutch school. To the south of the town is the Astra Open Air museum with more then hundred buildings and structures from all over Romania. You stay overnight in a stylish pension right outside the fortifications.

 

 

 

More info about Sibiu:

Click here

 

 

 

 

Day 8 Transfer to the Bihor Mountains in the West Carpathians. You drive along the village Calnic with fortified church (World Heritage Site) and the historical towns Sebes and Alba Iulia.  Alba Iulia has a Vauban style fortress (the largest in Southeast Europe) with several Baroque gates. There is within the fortification a 13th c. cathedral. You continue to the village Girda de Sus, along the Aries River on the eastern border of the Apuseni Nature Park. The Western Carpathians offer a very varied landscape. Crystalline and volcanic mountain ridges interchange with limestone massifs.  The region is a large plateau where rivers or tectonic forces cut deep canyons. The altitude is generally between 600 and 1850m.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9

You can visit the famous ice cave of Scarisoara.  The cave lies at an altitude of 1100m and at the bottom of the cave lies and enormous bloc of ice, 75.000 m3 big. It is here since the last Ice Time. This cold mass of ice cools the air down and seeping water freezes up to beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. You can also choose to visit a water mill and woodcarver in the village Patrahaitesti. The Moti highlanders, the inhabitants from the region are masters in would carving. They make all kind of household items and the Tulnic, a special alphorn from the region. You stay in comfortable guestrooms in Girda de Sus.  

 

 

 

 

 

We've included a special page about the Apuseni Mountains:    click here

 

 

 

 

 

Day 10 Transfer to Cluj Napoca. You travel via the Aries Valley to Turda. Along the road you come along Lupsa monastery (with oldest church from the region) and a very interesting ethnographic museum about the gold mining of the region. You can visit the Roman Galleries in Rosia Montana. You can make a short detour to the ethnographic village Rimetea at the base of the Piatra Secuiului Mountains and there is the nature reserve Turda Canyon. The Turda Canyon offers more then 1.000 types of plants. The flora is very heterogeneous because of the geographic location, the limestone underground and the special micro climate. You stay overnight in the cozy pension in Cluj Napoca. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 11 End of the trip after breakfast.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some accommodations

hotel Sighisoara

casa Ioana Sibiu
Cojanu guesthouse in Bran Danciu guesthouse in Girda de Sus

 

 

 

 


 

1 Sighisoara

2 Brasov

3 Sibiu

4 West Carpathians, Girda de Sus

Price: 

595 Euro pro person for 10 nights. (6 x full board in guestrooms in Biertan, Bran, Gura Raului and Girda de Sus. Bed and breakfast in Cluj Napoca, Sighisoara, and Sibiu)

Single traveller: 85 Euro supplement has to be paid for single room occupancy and luggage transport.

Rental car starting at 30 Euro/day. See at: http://www.rodna-trans.ro/en/rent_a_car/index.html

How to get there: (for links to airliners etc, click here)

 

Direct flights from London Luton, Paris Beauvais and Dortmund to Cluj Napoca with Wizz Air. 

There are also direct flights between Paris Beauvais and Rome and Cluj Napoca. (Blue Air)

Lufthansa operates a direct flight between Munchen and Cluj Napoca.

Or 

Flights to Budapest (regular airlines and low-cost) and train to Cluj -Napoca: there are trains departing the airport Ferihegy at 08.43 (arrival Cluj Napoca at 16.40) and 13.43 (arrival Cluj Napoca at 21.33) Train connections: see at http://www.mav-start.hu/english/index.php  

Back: train leaving Cluj Napoca at 06.23 arrives at 12.16 and train leaving Cluj Napoca at 10.29 arrives 16.16. at the airport. (The trains depart at new trainstation at airport terminal 1 and you have to change trains in Szolnok, time between trains is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes)